Under the law, abortion providers were required to follow instructions approved by the Food and Drug Administration back in 2000 when chemically induced abortions were first approved.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice challenged the law, arguing that the 2000 protocol had since become obsolete and had been replaced by newer time-tested procedures and doses that were safer, more effective, and less expensive.
The new procedures allow a woman to self-administer a second drug at home rather than in a clinic. They also extended the effective use of the chemically induced abortion process from 49 days into the pregnancy to 63 days.
Mr. Wyrick said the state legislature was justified in favoring the older protocol because eight otherwise healthy young women have died from bacterial infections following chemically induced abortions using one of the newer protocols. In contrast, he said, no women have died following use of the older protocol.
The state solicitor general said the Oklahoma law merely regulates the manner in which abortion-inducing drugs were administered and does not ban the use of those drugs.
A state court judge struck the statute down, because it was deemed to impose a substantial obstacle to a woman obtaining an abortion.
The judge concluded in part that the state law “is so completely at odds with the standard that governs the practice of medicine that it can serve no purpose other than to prevent women from obtaining abortions, and to punish and discriminate against those who do.”
On appeal, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the state law was unconstitutional under the US Supreme Court’s abortion precedent, Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey.